Penguin, the book’s publisher, had previously asked reporters not to divulge Owen’s real name, saying that he faced “risks to his personal security.” And CNN’s Barbara Starr said the network will not report Owen’s real name. “CNN is not doing so at this time at the request of the Pentagon,” she said yesterday, “which is citing its concern about the security of the other SEAL team members.”
Meanwhile, military officials, many of whom have criticized Owen for writing the book, are reminding soldiers of their commitment to keep quiet about their missions. The Daily Beast reports that current special operations commander Adm. William McCraven sent a letter to his forces warning them against going public with classified and sensitive information:
In the letter, McRaven said that while it was within the rights of former special-operations soldiers to “write books about their adventures, it is disappointing when these actions either attempt to represent the broader [special-operations forces] community, or expose sensitive information that could threaten the lives of their fellow warriors.”
McRaven also issued a veiled warning to the author: “Every member of the special-operations community with a security clearance signed a non-disclosure agreement that was binding during and after service in the military. If the U.S. Special Operations Command finds that an active-duty, retired or former service member violated that agreement and that exposure of information was detrimental to the safety of U.S. forces, then we will pursue every option available to hold members accountable, including criminal prosecution where appropriate.”
Many current and former SEALs are also troubled by Owen’s decision to write the book in the first place, even if under a pseudonym. Some told Fox News that they consider Owen a “traitor.”
The book’s publisher says Owen “was one of the first men through the door on the third floor of the terrorist leader’s hideout and was present at his death.” The CIA and other relevant government agencies said they were not notified that the book was being written or that it would be published.